BMJ 2008; 336 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39486.532593.80 (Published 14 February 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:396

The residents of Rotterdam were affected by famine in the spring of 1945, during the Dutch “hunger winter.” An analysis of patients on the Rotterdam addiction treatment programme reports that patients receiving treatment for addiction had significantly increased odds of being exposed to famine during the first trimester of gestation. This finding did not apply to exposure during the second and third trimesters. These results support the notion that extreme malnutrition has a detrimental effect on crucial brain development in the first trimester and mental health in later life (Addiction 2008 doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2007.02084.x).

Two papers in the latest issue of the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology—(2008;115:354-60 doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2007.01583.x; 2008;115:324-31 doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2007.01564.x) look at the fear of childbirth in first time mothers. The first study found that women with few social and psychological resources were most fearful, with 3.2% being fearful throughout pregnancy. Around 7.4% of women became fearful in later pregnancy, and a …

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